An Interview with AdvaMed Conference Producer Ray Briscuso
In preparation for AdvaMed 2011: The MedTech Conference, here is an interview with Ray Briscuso, President and CEO at Life Sciences Conference Group, LLC. Each year, Briscuso works with the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed) to produce one of the most important meetings focused on medical devices and diagnostics, and which brings together more than 1,500 key MedTech executives from companies in every sector of the industry. It is the premier conference, exhibition and partnering event for medical device, diagnostic and health information companies. In the past, internationally respected voices, such as former Presidents George Bush (Sr.) and Bill Clinton, have been featured as plenary speakers.
I am eagerly anticipating September 26-28 when AdvaMed 2011 will be held in Washington, DC. Following are some insights and highlights from our discussion with Ray about how to get the most out of this year’s event:
Q: AdvaMed 2011 promises to be an action-packed three days. What discussions, events, or talks are you most looking forward to this year? What will be 2011’s most pressing issue?
A: I’ll answer that in three parts:
- First, I’m always interested in the CEO Spotlights at the conference. We get some of the top names in the industry that literally sit on a barstool and have conversations with our attendees. This year, look for discussions from industry leaders such as Steve MacMillan, President & CEO, Stryker Corporation; Joe Almeida, President & CEO, Covidien; and Jeff Binder, President & CEO, Biomet, Inc., to name a few.
- Second, I value opportunities to hear from former presidents of the United States. This year we’ve got former President George W. Bush. In the past, Presidents Clinton and Bush (Sr.) have spoken – you could have heard a pin drop during their talks.
- Third, because the global financial situation is contributing to continued turbulence in financial markets, I’m interested in sessions that focus on investment in our industry – everything from venture capital to private banking dollars. I want to learn: What’s happening to the money? Who is getting investments? This is also the answer to what I believe is the most pressing issue to be discussed at the conference overall this year. I expect discussions on economic development incentives to continue to foster the industry within the United States. There is an opportunity to help support, create, and nurture an industry that pays high wages and employs highly skilled people.
Q: As you mentioned, plenary speakers at the AdvaMed Conference are very important and influential people, and this year is no different. What issues will the speakers, including former President George W. Bush and Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, address? How did they get involved in this year’s event?
A: With respect to Governor O’Malley, we invited him because there is such a large medical technology industry in Maryland; it’s a key part of the O’Malley Administration strategy to get to know the industry and to foster its growth. We saw that and invited him – and we are pleased he is willing to make the trip to Washington. While a lot of Marylanders think about the bioscience medical industry in the state, Maryland is also home to many device and diagnostic companies such as BD and Qiagen.
As for President Bush, his family has a long history of personal experience with medical devices, which helps provide a personal connection for him as a speaker.
The U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius; the FDA Director of the Center for Devices and Radiological Health, Dr. Jeffrey Shuren; and Counselor to the FDA Commissioner John Taylor will also be part of the meeting this year.
Q: In Vitro Diagnostics is a new Program Track at this year’s conference. What should we expect to hear about in this discussion? Why was it added?
A: AdvaMed has been around for more than 35 years. Last year, the association started “AdvaMedDx” to focus solely on the regulatory, payment, and legislative needs of its in vitro diagnostics (IVD) members. AdvaMed is very proud that all 10 major diagnostic manufacturers are members of AdvaMedDx. The members asked us to make sure AdvaMed 2011 was the de facto meeting for AdvaMedDx – and it is. We added a dedicated track and a great deal of other programming specific to the diagnostics industry.
Q: I’m particularly interested in new tools being developed to address inefficiencies in the healthcare system and believe this is a general strategy that will be quite profitable to those companies that execute well. What are your thoughts on this front?
A: In the current budget environment, all parts of the health care industry are being asked to do more with less. Medical technology delivers tremendous patient value so AdvaMed member companies are uniquely situated to help improve value across the continuum of care.
We’ll be educating attendees about proposed government changes. We’ll feature 60 company presentations, many from early-stage companies seeking to address healthcare system inefficiencies. Our members know the importance of medical and economic value in the care setting. This theme will permeate the conference.
Q: AdvaMed conferences bring together people of varied backgrounds with a stake in the MedTech industry. How does this impact the value of the conference?
A: Our conference features investors, seasoned business leaders, and niche service providers with the right experience – we have it all. For attendees, this isn’t about finding a needle in a haystack but rather it’s an efficient way to connect with others who can help them. Like Delta Airlines uses Atlanta as a hub, everyone flies in for our conference and our MedTech Partnering software system allows companies to match needs with skills. It is unique to have such a huge cross-section of the industry, and its senior leadership, represented in one place. We provide efficiencies to small companies who accomplish a lot by attending the MedTech conference.
Q: What advice would you offer first-time attendees for how to make the most out of the conference?
A: The key is to prepare in advance of the conference. Opt-in to the partneringONE® MedTech Partnering system we have as part of the conference. This will open you up to a searchable database to look at anyone else who opted in. You can post a profile, describe your company, and explain your reasons for attending the conference (e.g., to meet with potential strategic partners, to secure funding, to gather regulatory advice). You can search for those who fit your profile and find the right people with which to meet. Look at the schedule in advance and lock down much of your days. During open times, go to a session and introduce yourself to a speaker.
If you don’t plan in advance, you’ll still get your money’s worth, but you are leaving more to chance. Our telephone number is 202-434-7213 and our web address is www.advamed2011.com. Attendees are welcome to call us for more planning tips to ensure you get every ounce of benefit from coming to the conference.
Are you attending this year’s conference? Will your company be participating in MedTech Partnering? I’d be happy to meet up with anyone interested. Please feel free to share your contact information, comments, or your own questions for Ray Briscuso below.
This post originally appeared on the Popper and Company blog.